Cyclones Sloppy in First Game of Campbell Era

AMES, IA - SEPTEMBER 3: Head coach Matt Campbell of the Iowa State Cyclones coaches from the sidelines in the first half of play at Jack Trice Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Ames, Iowa. Northern Iowa Panthers won 25-20 over the Iowa State Cyclones (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)

Northern Iowa 25, Iowa State 20

The storm that has been brewing for the past nine months leading up to Saturday’s Northern Iowa game turned out to be a small drizzle. Iowa State was downed by UNI 25-20 in the first game of the Matt Campbell era in front of 60,629.

A poor rushing game

Not only did Iowa State have a poor night in the ground game, they tallied 51 rushing yards as a team, their worst mark since they only corralled 41 against Baylor in 2013.

That was three years ago.

Mike Warren was given the ball 12 times on the night, only able to secure 30 yards (2.5 per carry). The other 21 yards were gained by David Montgomery and Joel Lanning who had 11 and 10 respectively.

While Warren could have gotten the ball more, the Cyclones’ found themselves in first and 20 situations a little too often.

Penalties

The Cyclones were bogged down by an array of penalties on Saturday, nine of them (for 89 yards) to be exact. It seemed like every big play was being called backed by a holding call or a block-in-the-back when the punt returner was already past the defender.

It was a sloppy performance that restricted many chances the team had to drive the ball.

The young, inexperienced offensive line

However that wasn’t the only thing that limited Warren. Iowa State’s inexperience on the offensive line showed proved to be just as bad, and perhaps worse, than expected.

After veteran Jake Campos went down in a pre-season practice, the OL was down to one combined game started throughout all of their careers. Then, just before kickoff, Iowa State announced that starting center Julian Good-Jones, a true freshman, would not be making the start due to a violation of team rules.

In case it seemed like they couldn’t be that bad, they were. Although the pass blocking was alright, there was no room for running the ball up the middle, for both a running back and/or quarterback.

Lanning’s Late Picks and a Jacob Park watch?

Lanning’s 4th quarter was a roller coaster. At first it seemed like he wasn’t going to have much of one.

Early in the quarter, junior college transfer Jacob Park started jogging the sidelines during a defensive series for the Cyclones. The Panthers punted and Park started re-tying his cleats.

However, Lanning lined up behind center for the Cyclones. Was that Campbell saying, ‘pick it up or we see what Park can do?’

Either way, with Park on the sidelines, Lanning lead the Cyclones down the field and into the end zone. They led 20-19 and got the ball back with the lead and over six minutes to go on the clock, and it looked like this one was going to go the Cyclones way, albeit sloppily.

Then, a miscue with receiver Trever Ryen resulted in an interception and it was downhill from there.

UNI scored, the Cyclones got the ball, fumbled it, and got it back. A minute, zero timeouts, and 65 yards stood between them and a win. Lanning took the snap, the pocket collapsed, and the junior tried to fly the ball over a defender’s head.

It was picked off, and the Matt Campbell era started off with a loss.

Campbell’s Conservative Game

It’s unclear right now how risky Campbell will be with his play calling. However, Saturday he punted inside the UNI 40 yard line, not once, but twice.

Have a little trust in your fourth-year starting kicker.

Ok. Does that cover everything that could have gone better?

Receivers Throwing a Gem

One thing that went well for the Cyclones were the receivers, and don’t take my word for it, watch these touchdown grabs.

The Entrance

One thing Iowa State nailed was the entrance. Although some may not have liked the new intro song being Thunderstruck, it fit together perfectly with the “Cyclone Warning” theme. To add to it, players carried American and Iowa flags when they came out of the tunnel.

It was patriotic, it was unique, and it might have been the best thing the team did all night.
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